Mad Rock: Innovating Climbing Gear Since 2002

Founded in 2002 by passionate climbers, Mad Rock emerged as a groundbreaking, cost-effective climbing shoe company. The mastermind behind it all is Young Chu, a Korean-born climber with a deep-rooted love for the sport.

The Beginnings: Young Chu's Journey

"I was so broke," Young recalls of his days living in Camp 4. He started climbing in the 1970s, an era defined by bold adventurers and minimal gear. His fascination with climbing began during a hike in South Korea, where he witnessed his first rock climb. "My life was changed forever," Young reflects.

Young's parents encouraged his love for the outdoors but didn't support his climbing financially. At 16, with limited resources, Young began making his own climbing gear using his mother's sewing machine. From backpacks to harnesses and helmets, his self-made gear quickly gained the admiration of his friends.

The Inception of Mad Rock

Years of climbing in Yosemite fueled Young's determination to produce affordable, high-quality climbing gear. "Making good climbing gear is not very hard. But making it at an affordable price is a big challenge," Young explains. This challenge led him to establish Nelson Sports Inc. in 1987, designing shoes for Five Ten, motocross boots for FOX, and snowboarding shoes for Device. As Five Ten's head designer for 10 years, his shoe designs remain industry standards today.

In 2002, Young Chu launched Mad Rock. His innovative designs quickly garnered recognition, and in 2004, he won the ISPO Outdoor Award for the Hooker Lace and Hooker EZ designs. "I always thought this kind of award was given to major shoe companies like Nike and Adidas," Young remarks.

The Vision

With Mad Rock, Young Chu continues to push the boundaries of climbing shoe performance. Inspired by legendary climber Yvon Chouinard, Young's dedication to innovation is unwavering. His most memorable adventure? Climbing the North Face of the Eiger during a snowstorm. From a dirtbag climber to an industry pioneer, Young Chu's journey is a testament to his enduring passion for climbing and his relentless pursuit of "crazy ideas."